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Eagles squeak by Knights in overtime

Kingswood bounces back with overtime win at Plymouth

KENNETT’S SAM MEADER (left) and Kingswood’s Nikki Matarozzo both have designs on the ball in action Sept. 28 at The Nick. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 04, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Going into the Sept. 27 matchup at The Nick in Wolfeboro, the Kennett and Kingswood field hockey teams were about as even as they could get.

Both teams had just one loss in the Division II standings. The Knights' lone loss came at the hands of the Eagles on opening day back on Aug. 31 in North Conway. They hadn't lost since. The Eagles lost at Berlin on Sept. 18, but since then had picked up three solid wins.

When the teams took to The Nick field under cloudy skies and threats of rain, that even feeling played out on the grass, as the two teams battled neck-and-neck the entire way before the Eagles eventually came away with the win, potting the winning goal in overtime to head home with a 2-1 win.

The two teams went back and forth in the early going, but it was the Knights who got the better scoring opportunities, as they put a number of shots on Kennett keeper Faye Roberts in the opening minutes of the game. Miranda Clark had Kingswood's strongest chance, as she sent a shot just wide of the net.

The Knights also had a number of penalty corner opportunities, but they couldn't convert, though Nikki Matarozzo and Presleigh Skelley did put some good pressure on the net. Roberts made a nice save on one play and though the Knights did put the ball in the net, the goal was disallowed as a whistle had blown seconds before the ball was pushed in.

Mel Gauvin chipped in with a solid effort on defense for Kennett as Clark and the Knights did their best to get on the board and Erin Maguire did the same for Kingswood, turning away a scoring chance for the Eagles. Abby Gutowski just missed connecting with Monica Andreani for the Eagles, while Clark and Sasha McCormick had a good scoring bid for the Knights broken up by Kennett defender Sam Meader.

Kingswood had a couple more penalty corners but couldn't put the ball in the net, as Aimee-Kate Gutowski helped lead the defense on the corner tries.

Leah Kenison and Matarozzo kept the offensive pressure up for Kingswood, while Katie Bishop and Abby Gutowski put pressure on Kingswood keeper Hannah Bergeron.

Clark had a great bid to give Kingswood the lead heading to halftime, as she broke in all along, but Roberts made a nice save to keep the scoreless tie in place. The Knights also got a corner out of the play and Matarozzo sent a shot wide of the net.

The Eagles had a couple chances in the half's final minutes, but the first 30 minutes ended with neither team on the scoreboard.

Again, the two teams exchanged chances early in the second half, with Kenison getting a good chance for the Knights, but the Eagle defense, led by Gauvin, kept the Knights at bay, with Roberts forced to make just one save.

The Eagles finally got the scoring started with 9:04 to play in the second half, as, after a pair of corners led to some solid Kennett pressure, Bishop drove the ball past Bergeron for a 1-0 lead.

The Knights didn't sit back and wait to answer, as McCormick came right back down the field and put one past Roberts to tie the game at one with 7:19 to play in regulation.

Vicky Weigold made a great scoring bid for Kennett, but Bergeron made the stop and Roberts returned the favor with a solid stop at the other end. Bishop and Abby Gutowski did their best to get Kennett on the board, but the clocked ticked down to zero and the two squads headed to overtime.

Matarozzo had a scoring chance early in the overtime, but Roberts came up with the save and both teams turned in solid defensive performances.

Finally, with just 3:16 left in the first overtime, Bishop sent a ball into the zone and Abby Gutowski hammered it past Bergeron to give Kennett the 2-1 win.

"It's always an exciting game with Kingswood," Kennett coach CJ Lang said. "We knew it was going to be some good competition."

She noted that the Knights came out of the gate strong and she was impressed by their improvement since the season's first game.

"They came out of the gate strong," she said. "We started out a little slow, but we came back together and played our game.

"Those last few minutes and overtime were pretty intense," she added.

Lang noted that she enjoys games that challenge her squad and this was certainly one that made her team work to come away with the win.

"I prefer the competition, it helps both teams get better," she said. "I'm always up for playing the tough games."

The Eagles were a bit shorthanded, as illness and other commitments had the bench a bit short, but Lang got solid contributions from everyone.

"We managed well," she said.

Kingswood coach Kaitlin Reilly agreed with her counterpart's assessment of the competition.

"It was a great, competitive game, exactly what a two vs. three game should be," Reilly stated.

The Knights entered the game on a long winning streak, but Reilly was convinced that the team still had improvements to make before heading to the playoffs.

"This might've been the best thing to happen to us," she said. "This is obviously going to help us prepare for the tournament. This game, this feeling will drive us in practice to work harder."

She also admitted that her team did miss a few good scoring chances, something they'd be working on in practice as the season rolled along.

"We knew we had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on," she said. "But when we needed to score to tie, we did.

"We've got to pick our heads up and be ready to battle back and work on perfecting our game before tournament," Reilly continued.

More Eagles

The Kennett girls were slated to play as part of Homecoming on Oct. 1, but rains postponed the team's game with Laconia. That game will be played on Thursday, Oct. 14.

In other action, the Eagles will head to St. Thomas for an 11 a.m. game with the Saints on Saturday, Oct. 9, and will host Merrimack Valley at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

More Knights

The Knights bounced back from their first loss with a hard-fought win over another rival on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The Knights traveled to Plymouth and walked away with a 3-2 win over the Bobcats.

Plymouth jumped out to a two-goal lead after a scoreless first half, but the Knights responded with the next three goals to take the win.

Matarozzo scored the first goal, with Kenison netting the second tally. Gabrielle Horton put the game-winner in the net in overtime.

The Knights will play at home against Laconia at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, as part of Homecoming. They will then host Hanover at 5 p.m. on Alumni Field on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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